Labour would suspend any police officers accused of rape, party says

New policy after Carrick scandal would bring police in line with teachers under future Labour government

Police officers accused of rape or domestic abuse will be immediately suspended under a future Labour government, the party has announced, amid growing concern that other serial sexual abusers will be found in the UK’s forces.

The announcement follows criticisms of the government’s response after the former police officer David Carrick was formally sacked on Tuesday after pleading guilty to 49 charges of sexual assault including dozens of rapes. He had been allowed to continue to work as a police officer despite multiple allegations.

Labour’s proposed change in the rules would bring the police in line with other professions in the public sector such as teaching, where a serious allegation results in an immediate suspension pending an inquiry.

The announcement comes as Suella Braverman, the home secretary, ordered UK police forces to check all officers and staff against national police databases to identify suspected misogynistic predators who have “slipped through the net”.

When Carrick was accused of rape in July 2021, he was not suspended but placed on restricted duties. He was later returned to full duty after the allegation was dropped, before being again accused of rape by a different victim.

Under the current rules, if a serving police officer is accused of rape or domestic violence it is left up to the individual force to decide whether or not to suspend them.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, promised to change the law on police misconduct in government as part of a major Labour programme of reform on police standards. She said: “The home secretary must show leadership and take urgent action to change the way that rape and domestic abuse allegations are dealt with in the police.

“Most people would be horrified to learn that police officers who are accused of rape are not automatically suspended pending an investigation. It truly beggars belief that David Carrick was not suspended. But there are, sadly, many more cases where action hasn’t been taken.

“Ministers promised us things would change after the awful murder of Sarah Everard. But that has badly failed. We’ve had enough of the empty words and hand-wringing. We need action.

“The next Labour government will change the law and bring in tough new rules on police misconduct and vetting to protect victims and rebuild confidence,” she said.

A super-complaint submitted by the Centre for Women’s Justice last year found significant inconsistencies in how domestic abuse perpetrated by police was investigated and dealt with, including serious inconsistency in how and when officers were suspended.

After Carrick’s guilty plea, the Met commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, disclosed the force was investigating 1,000 sexual or domestic abuse claims involving about 800 of its officers.

Carrick, known to colleagues as “Bastard Dave”, humiliated his victims, called them “slaves”, and locked some in a cupboard under the stairs for hours without food. The Met apologised on Monday after it emerged that nine incidents involving him had been brought to the police’s attention between 2000 and 2021, including allegations of rape, domestic violence and harassment.

In a statement on Wednesday, Braverman said: “We are taking immediate steps to ensure predatory individuals are not only rooted out of the force, but that vetting and standards are strengthened to ensure they cannot join the police in the first place.”

Labour and some Conservative MPs have called for the government to go further in pursuing police officers who had failed to report Carrick, and to introduce policies that clamped down on misogyny in the force.

On Wednesday, the chair of the home affairs select committee, Diana Johnson, called for the police to be described as “institutionally sexist” after a series of policy failings around rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Ministers, including Braverman, have backed efforts by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to strip Carrick of his pension, reported to be £22,000 a year.


Rajeev Syal Home affairs editor

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Labour pledges to place specialists in 999 call centres to help rape victims
Yvette Cooper says party would also ensure police forces have dedicated units amid shockingly low conviction rates

Rajeev Syal Home affairs editor

26, Sep, 2022 @7:53 AM

Article image
Nearly 70% of rape victims drop out of investigations in England and Wales
Exclusive: MoJ statistics unearthed by Labour as party presses Rishi Sunak to improve conviction rates

Rajeev Syal Home affairs editor

30, May, 2023 @2:00 PM

Article image
Police recruits with links to domestic abuse and sex offenders ‘still being appointed’
England and Wales watchdog says vetting processes inadequate in 13 cases over two-month period, despite overhaul

Alexandra Topping

11, May, 2023 @1:27 PM

Article image
Labour would suspend police officers accused of sexual offences, Yvette Cooper says
Shadow home secretary says party would closely check social media accounts of accused officers

Jessica Elgot Deputy political editor

16, Feb, 2023 @12:45 PM

Article image
Braverman accused of ‘dangerous’ complacency in tackling police failings
Labour urges UK home secretary to suspend all officers facing sexual assault claims, after damning Casey report

Jamie Grierson

21, Mar, 2023 @2:16 PM

Article image
Discrimination, funding, public trust: what Casey says about the Met police
Report of more than 300 pages identifies institutional homophobia, misogyny and racism in force and unwillingness to deal with failures

Jamie Grierson

21, Mar, 2023 @12:01 AM

Article image
Boris Johnson admits justice system and police serve rape victims badly
PM says he will ‘stop at nothing to make sure we get more rapists behind bars’ after Sarah Everard case

Rowena Mason Deputy political editor

03, Oct, 2021 @10:16 AM

Article image
Met officers joked about raping women, police watchdog reveals
Met denies culture of misogyny as damning report reveals sexist, racist and homophobic messages sent as ‘banter’

Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent

01, Feb, 2022 @7:57 PM

Article image
Suella Braverman accused of delaying attempts to clean up Met police
Sadiq Khan has written to home secretary urging her to push ahead with powers to allow the dismissal of rogue officers

Mark Townsend Home Affairs Editor

09, Apr, 2023 @5:00 AM

Article image
Met police deny systemic failure in rape case disclosures
After collapse of two trials because of late disclosure, Scotland Yard says review of ongoing cases could run into hundreds

Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent

20, Dec, 2017 @1:22 PM